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A shachihoko float used in Karatsu Kunchi festival

A shachihoko (鯱鉾 or 鯱?) or shachi (?) is an animal in Japanese folklore with the head of a tiger and the body of a carp.[1] It was believed that this animal could cause the rain to fall,[why?] and as such, temples and castles were often adorned with roof ornaments (shibi) crafted in the form of a shachihoko, in order to protect them from fire.

When pronounced "shachi", 鯱 also means orca.[2]

A shachihoko decorates the roof of Okayama Castle
  1. ^ しゃちほこ (in Japanese). 三省堂 大辞林. 
  2. ^ "しゃち" (in Japanese). 三省堂 大辞林.